County Handicap Hurdle Preview, Tips, Runners & Trends (Cheltenham Festival)

Updated: 17012 Horse Racing

We look at the County Handicap Hurdle ahead of the next renewal, a race contested over 2m1f at Cheltenham during the Cheltenham Festival to see which runners, trainers and jockeys have previously won the race and which trends can you use to find the winner of the County Handicap Hurdle.

County Handicap Hurdle Preview, Tips, Runners & Trends (Cheltenham Festival)
In this article: Preview
Andy Powell Content Editor

Horse Racing stats man, Andy has contributed to OLBG for 18 years - An Ipswich fan and F1 fanatic, he also contributes EFL football and Motor Sport opinion.

2025 County Handicap Hurdle Preview

The County Hurdle is a Grade 3 handicap run on the new course at Cheltenham where runners face eight hurdles over two miles and one furlong. Usually, run at a fast and furious pace and was traditionally the festival finale "Get Out Stakes!" until 2009, whereas it's now the second race on "Gold Cup" Friday.

County Handicap Hurdle Information:

To see which runners the OLBG racing tipsters are tipping throughout the card that includes this race, head over to the Cheltenham tips on the day of the race, do they agree with the runners on the trend shortlist or are they predicting other runners? We cover every race at the Cheltenham Festival and below you can find links to all of the races for each of Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday & Friday.

How competitive is the County Handicap Hurdle market? When looking at the over-rounds for the last 20 renewals, the most competitive market was in 2008 when the race had an over-round of 130%. The race in 2007 was a race that was most in the bookie's favour with an over-round of 145%, whilst on average over the last 20 renewals of the County Handicap Hurdle, the over-round has been 135%, which means the bookie expects to pay out £100 for every £135 which is bet.

County Handicap Hurdle Trends:

Looking at the future form, is the winner worth following next time out? From the past 20 if you had followed the winner of the County Handicap Hurdle next time out then you would have backed a total of 6 winners. Backing all 19 runners who have been out since to win at SP next time out, would have returned an LSP of +6.92. Whilst we wait for the 2025 County Handicap Hurdle remember you can get daily racing predictions from the expert tipsters on the racing predictions page.

Over the last 20 renewals, it was the Paul Nicholls trained Desert Quest ridden by R Walsh who set the fastest winning time in the County Handicap Hurdle, the runner won the race in a time of 3:52.70 was set when winning the race in 2006. At the other end of the scale, it was the combination of trainer W P Mullins and jockey Paul Townend with Absurde who set the slowest winning time, the race-winning time was 4:25.10 in the 2024 renewal.

These are the top three quickest-run County Handicap Hurdle over the last 20 renewals:

  1. Desert Quest (3:52.70) in 2006
  2. Pedrobob (3:53.90) in 2007
  3. Final Approach (3:54.77) in 2011
What the expert says...
You don't really want a runner who surprised on this last win, you want to side with a fancied runner who was no bigger than 7/1 on that win. Those who were sent off bigger have a poor 0-105 record in this County Hurdle and only filled 9% of the places.

Andy Powell - Horse Racing Betting Expert - OLBG.com

County Handicap Hurdle Past Winners

Here are the County Handicap Hurdle past winners for the last 10 renewals. Each row details the year of the race, the horse which won along with the age & weight of the horse. The trainer of the horse at the time of winning the County Handicap Hurdle as well as the jockey is also displayed along with the starting price the horse was sent off.

YearHorseInfo
2024
4:25.10
Absurde (FR)
6yo 10-10 12/1
Paul Townend
W P Mullins (IRE)
2023
4:06.12
Faivoir (FR)
8yo 10-7 33/1
Bridget Andrews
Dan Skelton (GB)
2022
4:01.25
State Man (FR)
5yo 11-1 11/4F
Paul Townend
W P Mullins (IRE)
2021
4:02.27
Belfast Banter (IRE)
6yo 10-0 33/1
Kevin Sexton
Peter Fahey (IRE)
2020
4:02.42
Saint Roi (FR)
5yo 10-13 11/2F
Barry Geraghty
W P Mullins (IRE)
2019
4:04.85
Chtibello (FR)
8yo 11-5 12/1
Harry Skelton
Dan Skelton (GB)
2018
4:18.00
Mohaayed (GB)
6yo 10-8 33/1
Bridget Andrews (3lbs)
Dan Skelton (GB)
2017
4:00.00
Arctic Fire (GER)
8yo 11-12 20/1
Paul Townend
W P Mullins (IRE)
2016
3:55.50
Superb Story (IRE)
5yo 10-12 8/1
Harry Skelton
Dan Skelton (GB)
2015
4:05.70
Wicklow Brave (GB)
6yo 11-4 25/1
Paul Townend
W P Mullins (IRE)

Where have the winning runners come from?

Here are the countries where the winning trainers of the County Handicap Hurdle have been based:

  • IRE: 12 winners with an additional 25 placings from 188 runners
  • GB: 8 winners with an additional 35 placings from 321 runners
  • FR: 0 winners with an additional 0 placings from 2 runners

County Handicap Hurdle Trainer Statistics

The leading trainer in the County Handicap Hurdle over the last 20 renewals is W P Mullins who has won the race seven times with those seven winners coming from Thousand Stars (2010), Final Approach (2011), Wicklow Brave (2015), Arctic Fire (2017), Saint Roi (2020), State Man (2022) and Absurde (2024). Other trainers who have recorded multiple wins in the County Handicap Hurdle are Dan Skelton (4 wins) and Paul Nicholls (3 wins). Multiple trainers have not had the best of times over the last 20 renewals in the County Handicap Hurdle, Nicky Henderson (0-34), Gordon Elliott (0-28), Philip Hobbs (0-28), Noel Meade (0-16), Alan King (0-13), Jonjo O'Neill (0-13), David Pipe (0-11), Henry De Bromhead (0-11) and Gary Moore (0-10) have all failed to produce a single winner despite sending multiple runners to the race.

Here are some of the top County Handicap Hurdle trainer statistics over the last 20 renewals (R = Runners, W = Winners, P = Places including winners, Win LSP is based on 1pt Win and EW LSP is based on 0.5pt Win & 0.5pt Place):

TrainerR-W-PWinEW
W P Mullins55-7-17+47.25+35.69
Dan Skelton17-4-6+73.00+43.01
Paul Nicholls29-3-6+9.00+2.45
A J Martin5-1-3+6.00+4.88
Thomas Mullins3-1-1+18.00+10.50
T Hogan2-1-1+49.00+30.25
Peter Fahey2-1-1+32.00+19.63
Anthony Mullins1-1-1+12.00+7.50
Nicky Henderson34-0-5-34.00-20.62
Philip Hobbs28-0-8-28.00+8.83

County Handicap Hurdle Jockey Statistics

The leading jockey in the County Handicap Hurdle over the last 20 renewals is Paul Townend who has won the race four times with those four winners coming from Wicklow Brave (2015), Arctic Fire (2017), State Man (2022) and Absurde (2024). Other jockeys who have recorded multiple wins in the County Handicap Hurdle are Harry Skelton (2 wins) and Bridget Andrews (2 wins). Two jockeys have not had the best of times over the last 20 renewals in the County Handicap Hurdle, Sam Twiston-Davies has ridden a total of 12 runners to the race without recording any wins whilst Denis O'Regan has ridden 10 without a winner.

Here are some of the top County Handicap Hurdle jockey statistics over the last 20 renewals (R = Runners, W = Winners, P = Places including winners, Win LSP is based on 1pt Win and EW LSP is based on 0.5pt Win & 0.5pt Place):

JockeyR-W-PWinEW
Paul Townend15-4-5+48.75+27.85
Harry Skelton8-2-4+14.00+8.75
Bridget Andrews6-2-2+62.00+37.26
Daryl Jacob8-1-4+4.00+12.51
Kevin Sexton2-1-1+32.00+19.63
Sam Twiston-Davies12-0-0-12.00-12.00
Denis O'Regan10-0-1-10.00-5.37
Paddy Brennan9-0-2-9.00-0.50
Aidan Coleman8-0-0-8.00-8.00
Danny Mullins7-0-2-7.00-0.87

County Handicap Hurdle Trend Analysis

The trend factor which had produced 10+ winners and shows the best LSP, an LSP of +59.25 is when runners ran in France on debut. The worst performing factor that has failed to produce a single winner is when runners were aged 7 years old, when backing these the trend shows a record of 0-122.

The course which has produced the most winners of the County Handicap Hurdle is Leopardstown, there has been a total number of 6 winners of this race who ran at Leopardstown last time out. The next best course which has produced the second most winners is Newbury, there has been a total number of 3 winners of this race who ran at Newbury last time out.

The race is open to both sexes with the Male runners having produced a total of 20 winners from a total of 485 runners whilst the Female runners have produced 0 winners from a total of 26 runners.

Looking over the past renewals, there is only one stallion whose offspring have produced multiple winners of the County Handicap Hurdle, that stallion Coastal Path has produced 2 winners (2023,2020).

These are the stallions whose offspring have not produced a winner of the County Handicap Hurdle despite multiple attempts:

  • Montjeu (0 Wins from 12 runners)
  • Arcadio (0 Wins from 7 runners)
  • Authorized (0 Wins from 7 runners)
  • Fame And Glory (0 Wins from 7 runners)
  • Kings Theatre (0 Wins from 7 runners)

Looking at the winning odds over the last 20 renewals, the biggest-priced winner was Silver Jaro in 2008, winning for T Hogan at odds of 50/1 under the guidance of Noel Fehily. Looking at the runners at the head of the market over the last 20 renewals there have been 3 winning favourites in the race. Whilst we wait for the 2025 County Handicap Hurdle remember you can get daily racing predictions from the top racing tipsters on the best racing tipsters page.

Schedule for Tuesday at the Cheltenham Festival

Prepare for the ROAR of the Cheltenham Festival on the opening day when the tape goes up for the Supreme Novices Hurdle, the feature on Tuesday is the Champion Hurdle.

RaceLast WinnerInfo
13:30 Cheltenham
Supreme Novices Hurdle
Slade Steel (IRE)
6yo - 7/2
Henry De Bromhead
Rachael Blackmore
14:10 Cheltenham
Arkle Challenge Trophy
Gaelic Warrior (GER)
6yo - 2/1
W P Mullins
Paul Townend
14:50 Cheltenham
Ultima Handicap Chase
Chianti Classico (IRE)
7yo - 6/1
Kim Bailey
David Bass
15:30 Cheltenham
Champion Hurdle
State Man (FR)
7yo - 2/5
W P Mullins
Paul Townend
16:10 Cheltenham
Close Brothers Mares Hurdle
Lossiemouth (FR)
5yo - 8/13
W P Mullins
Paul Townend
16:50 Cheltenham
Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle
Lark In The Mornin (GER)
4yo - 9/1
Joseph Patrick O'Brien
J J Slevin
17:30 Cheltenham
National Hunt Chase Challenge Cup
Corbetts Cross (IRE)
7yo - 15/8
Emmet Mullins
Mr Derek O'Connor

Schedule for Wednesday at the Cheltenham Festival

The dust has settled on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival and now on to day two. The feature on the second day is the Queen Mother Champion Chase. We also have the cross country scheduled on Wednesday, a race like Marmite, some love it and some don't!

RaceLast WinnerInfo
13:30 Cheltenham
Baring Bingham Novices Hurdle
Ballyburn (IRE)
6yo - 1/2
W P Mullins
Paul Townend
14:10 Cheltenham
Brown Advisory Novices Chase
Fact To File (FR)
7yo - 8/13
W P Mullins
Mark Walsh
14:50 Cheltenham
Coral Cup
Langer Dan (IRE)
8yo - 13/2
Dan Skelton
Harry Skelton
15:30 Cheltenham
Queen Mother Champion Chase
Captain Guinness (IRE)
9yo - 17/2
Henry De Bromhead
Rachael Blackmore
16:10 Cheltenham
Cross Country Chase
Delta Work (FR)
10yo - 11/10
Gordon Elliott
Keith Donoghue
16:50 Cheltenham
Johnny Henderson Grand Annual
Unexpected Party (FR)
9yo - 12/1
Dan Skelton
Harry Skelton
17:30 Cheltenham
Champion Bumper
Jasmin De Vaux (FR)
5yo - 9/2
W P Mullins
Mr P W Mullins

Schedule for Thursday at the Cheltenham Festival

Halfway through the festival and onto day three where the Stayers Hurdle is the feature race. A hurdle race to test the stamina and see how can last best up the Cheltenham hill.

RaceLast WinnerInfo
13:30 Cheltenham
Turners Novices Chase
Grey Dawning (IRE)
7yo - 5/2
Dan Skelton
Harry Skelton
14:10 Cheltenham
Pertemps Network Final
Monmiral (FR)
7yo - 25/1
Paul Nicholls
Harry Cobden
14:50 Cheltenham
Ryanair Chase
Protektorat (FR)
9yo - 17/2
Dan Skelton
Harry Skelton
15:30 Cheltenham
Stayers Hurdle
Teahupoo (FR)
7yo - 5/4
Gordon Elliott
Jack Kennedy
16:10 Cheltenham
Festival Plate
Shakem UpArry (IRE)
10yo - 8/1
Ben Pauling
Ben Jones
16:50 Cheltenham
Mares Novices Hurdle
Golden Ace (GB)
6yo - 10/1
Jeremy Scott
Lorcan Williams
17:30 Cheltenham
Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup
Inothewayurthinkin (IRE)
6yo - 13/8
Gavin Cromwell
Mr Derek O'Connor

Schedule for Friday at the Cheltenham Festival

The final day of the festival and feature race that we have all been waiting for, the Cheltenham Gold Cup in which the Irish have been fairly dominant in recent years.

RaceLast WinnerInfo
13:30 Cheltenham
Triumph Hurdle
Majborough (FR)
4yo - 6/1
W P Mullins
Mark Walsh
14:10 Cheltenham
County Handicap Hurdle
Absurde (FR)
6yo - 12/1
W P Mullins
Paul Townend
14:50 Cheltenham
Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle
Stellar Story (IRE)
7yo - 33/1
Gordon Elliott
Sam Ewing
15:30 Cheltenham
Cheltenham Gold Cup
Galopin Des Champs (FR)
8yo - 10/11
W P Mullins
Paul Townend
16:10 Cheltenham
Foxhunter Chase Challenge Cup
Sine Nomine (GB)
8yo - 8/1
Fiona Needham
Mr John Dawson
16:50 Cheltenham
Mrs Paddy Power Mares Chase
Limerick Lace (IRE)
7yo - 3/1
Gavin Cromwell
Keith Donoghue
17:30 Cheltenham
Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys Handicap Hurdle
Better Days Ahead (IRE)
6yo - 5/1
Gordon Elliott
Danny Gilligan

Article Contributor Information

We are blessed with an excellent team of specialists and experts at OLBG. Contributing to creating and maintaining this County Handicap Hurdle Preview are at hand, Andy and Darren. They both work on the Horse racing tips team team looking after the tipsters and managing the tips settlement, whilst also creating and managing all of the horse racing event previews for National Hunt Racing.

Darren Brett

Darren Brett

Tipster competition manager

Darren has worked in the horse racing industry for decades bringing to OLBG for the last 20 years a wealth of knowledge, creating much of our content on these sports. Darren also manages our Grand National Guide and is the go-to font of knowledge for the world's greatest steeplechase.
Andy Powell

Andy Powell

Content editor

Andy, a seasoned horse racing expert with over 15 years of experience, possesses a comprehensive understanding of the sport, from delving into complex statistical data for jump racing in the UK and Ireland to crafting insightful national hunt racing blogs for OLBG.

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